CUE THE MASS PANIC!!!!!
Ok. Let's be real here, literally 3 CFL players have signed XFL contracts. Three. Is this reason to believe the XFL is a threat to the livelihood of the Canadian Football League? In my latest video on the ABC Football YouTube channel, I talked about this and I admitted that I don't have a full opinion on the XFL because I haven't dedicated any real time to watching a game and I've really only viewed a few minutes here and there and maybe five minutes in total. While we've heard for over a year about the XFL coming to fruition the league itself has only been in existence for 2 weeks. Without watching one can know what's going on. I haven't read Harry Potter but I get the gist of what it's about.
*cue more shock and outrage*
I know that Vince McMahon has poured a fortune into the venture. I know that it was advertised along side NFL...but guess what? The NFL season is over now. Yes, the XFL is on major networks like ABC, FOX and ESPN but again in Canada we get TSN as our major sports provider and all 5 channels are dedicated to curling right now. So as a CFL fan, I'm not seeing the talk that "KingOfGames2007" mentions in his comment on my video. All the discussion has been on social media sites. As well, we are assuming that Vince McMahon will be able to continue to support the league. It all depends on game tickets sold, merchandise sales and TV revenue. After only two weeks why would we believe the league can survive beyond a year or two or three? We have to wait for at least 8 more weeks to make that judgement and while week one saw large crowds week two had lower numbers despite their social media gains.
Reality check. The three CFL players to sign XFL contracts are SJ Green, Derek Dennis and Amanti Edwards. All three are CFL free agents. None of them were garnering interest from any of the 9 CFL teams. All of them are older than 30. Disclaimer: I am in no way calling them old or washed up. I am stating facts. Yes, every CFL player just like any regular human has to provide a life for himself and his family. If I was essentially laid off from my job I'd go in search of a new job too. We all would. The idea that these players are fleeing the CFL just isn't true. They are looking to make a livelihood just as an ex-CFLer might go into coaching or training etc. It's possible these three players believed they should be paid a higher amount in the CFL and priced themselves out of a job as well. Wouldn't that mean their only choice is the XFL if they wanted to continue their careers?
What we also know is the base salary in the XFL is $55,000 US and that's less than the base salary of a CFL player. An XFL contract might give these players a chance to be "home" or it may not but since many players are American it's logical they'd want to work and play near families. However, when an athlete signs in the XFL they sign with the league first and foremost and then they are delegated to a team. At least that's my understanding. So if a player has family somewhere it's also very possible they'd end up playing far from home anyway. I don't see this as a benefit at this stage at all. It would be no different than playing for a CFL team and living miles away from family with the exception they'd be paid in American dollars instead.
Every CFL player currently under contract cannot sign with the XFL. Periodtt. There is the possibility of a player with the XFL also gaining a CFL contract and playing in both leagues. Think about this though... the XFL season is 10 weeks long plus the possibility of a week of play offs and another for the championship game. The CFL season is an 18 game schedule plus 2 weeks of playoffs and then the Grey Cup. If a player were to play in both leagues that's at least 28 games. Can a body sustain that? We already know the CFL schedule can be grueling. Injuries happen just in training camp alone. It might be a nice idea to try to gain 2 paychecks but at what cost to the longevity of a football career? How many ice baths does that equate? Furthermore, once under contract with the CFL unless it's only for one year, that player would have to become a free agent or be released to once again return to the XFL the following season. This sounds like a CFLPA nightmare.
So now I'm going to talk about me for a bit. I'm a busy person. I have a job which I am dedicated to. I have family responsibilities. I am a rabid CFL and Roughriders fan. I'm a blogger and administrator of ABC Rider Fans. I enjoy shopping and weekends often take me grocery shopping and to the horrors of Costco. It's currently the CFL off season but I also enjoy watching NBA and Nascar. I also don't like to spend my entire day glued to the television. We PVR a lot of things and we go out and live a life. The only XFL games according to the schedule I downloaded which I can watch in week 3 are Houston/Tampa Bay on ABC 2pm ET or Dallas/Seattle on FOX 5pm ET. If I intend to fulfill what "KingOfGames2007" asked me to do and watch an entire game - it will have to be one of these and it will have to be recorded too. There's a whole debate to be had about watching sporting events live... but that's another topic.
It's difficult to fully commit. We've seen the XFL try and fail before. We've seen the AAF fold before barely getting off the ground. We've seen the AAFL go bankrupt after being somewhat established. The CFL is well over 100 years old and has a history and legacy. That doesn't mean it's on sure footing either but it leads me to think it's a more viable choice and it's where my loyalty stands.
In the end, if you enjoy watching XFL then watch XFL. Who cares what I think? Is the XFL a threat to the CFL at this point? No, I sincerely don't think so. The CFL is quiet right now and Free Agency is basically over. If there is some panic it's because it's nice to have something to talk about at the end of February when winter has gotten old and us Rider fans are busy dreaming about gophers instead of groundhogs.